Bill Gross: Twenty Amazing Facts Learned at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos

Bill GrossBill Gross is founder of the technology incubator Idealab and more companies than I can count (he says “100 companies in last 30 years” so perhaps I can count that high). Mr. Gross tweeted “while on [his] quest for learning in life and at conferences.” (Follow him on Twitter as well as on his blog at 

So, a tip of the hat to you, sir: for me, the cost to attend WEF virtually and digest everything on the Davos stream in real time in my PJ’s: $0 (priceless 😉

With his coverage and that of the other quarter of attendees on Twitter, I was able to keep up in real time (which explains why I was cranky and tired this week) and almost felt as though I were in Davos. I appreciated the openess and how many people tweeted, published blog posts from the event, and the access the press had to attendees, with sessions live online in real-time (

But, sadly, without the incredible Swiss hospitality, food and snow. And the Occupy protesters!

So, from his tweets, here are Bill’s “Twenty Amazing Facts Learned at WEF 2012”

  1. There are only 52 companies on Earth worth more than Apple’s $97.6B hoard ofcash.
  2. Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975 & their board buried it b/c it looked too disruptive
  3. iTunes alone generated 50% more revenues than ALL of #Yahoo last year
  4. From Angela Merkel – “there are 23 million companies in the EU & there are 23 million jobless.”
  5. There were ~2,600 attendees & more than 5,000 Army members guarding #Davos – more than 2/attendee!
  6. There are 371,000 babies born each day. There are 377,900 iPhones sold each day.
  7. Annual growth in China 9%, India 8%, Africa 5.5%, Europe 0%.
  8. Over next several years world will need amount of food = to all produced in last 10,000 years!
  9. 89 percent of young people want a job that helps to change the world for the better.
  10. In a hyper connected world average is over as we all knew it – we are now competing with the whole planet.
  11. Spanish unemployment surges to 22.8%. Under 24 years old – 51.4%. Staggering.
  12. 1 in every 2 people in India is under 25 years old (and they want their piece of the pie).
  13. Because of corruption, U.S. investment in India went down from $24B in 2010 to $11B last year.
  14. The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in 1 and a half years in the 4th quarter of 2011.
  15. a: The poorest 2 billion people spend 40-60% of income on food & 15-20% on energy.  And 15 b: Each year of secondary school increases a girl’s future wages up to 20 percent.
  16. 47% of time spent using smartphones is spent on= Facebook.
  17. Apple’s cash reserve is enough to pay off the total public debt of 8 countries in the EU.
  18. New era of volatity – the S&P Index moved > 2% more than 60 days in 2011. In 2005 – Zero.
  19. Avg cost of attending Davos: Food ($2k) + Hotel ($3k) + Flights ($6k) + Transfers ($9k) + EntryFee ($20k) = $40,000
  20. On Hacking, the Intellectual Attacks come from China & the Financial Attacks come from Russia.

WRT number 19: $9K in transfers?!?


Tags: WEF, Davos, conferences, World Economic Forum, 2012.

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